From "Fahrenheit 451," what images or imagery does the following quote create?"Like the petals of a flower. Light the first page, light the second page. Each becomes a black butterfly...Swarms of...

From "Fahrenheit 451," what images or imagery does the following quote create?

"Like the petals of a flower. Light the first page, light the second page. Each becomes a black butterfly...Swarms of black moths that had died..."

Asked on by hi985

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In this quote, Bradbury uses imagery, similes and metaphors to describe what books look like when they burn.  Bradbury uses those techniques quite a bit in his novel, to enhance the mood and descriptiveness of the piece.  In this quote, describing the books as a flower to start off, gives them a beautiful delicacy that he feels books has.  One major theme of the novel is that books ARE beautiful, wonderful things that you must take the time to actually enjoy in your life.  That is much like a flower.  They are there, but must be enjoyed through slow appreciation, and taking the time to do notice their beauty.  He next turns the description to butterflies--another beautiful and delicate creature, but he is a bit more dark her.  As the pages are consumed by fire, they turn into "black butterflies."  This indicates a dark and sordid force; the pages, once beautiful flowers, have turned black.  You can see their beauty underneath--you can see it's still a butterfly--but it is black and ugly on the surface, as a result of the fire that is feeding on them (butterflies feed on flowers).  Then, the end comparison, to dead moths.  What was once a beautiful flower has become a clumsy, mindless moth, and a dead one at that.  The fire has changed the pages into something they were never meant to be, just as a flower was never meant to be a moth, and killed any life that was in it before.

So, the images that come to mind are of fire destroying a delicate flower, and turning it into an ugly, dead object.  That is all symbolic not only of fire destroying books, but of how Montag's society destroys people's love for books, or anything beautiful, profound, or delicate with their ignorance and violence.  I hope that those thoughts help; good luck!

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